August 24: mile 1776: hexagonal shelter

We woke up early in the hopes of pulling a 24 mile day to Moonhine road campsites.  The weather was good but the hiking was really hard.  Dancing Bear shot ahead with the idea that I should text him if I couldn’t make the 24 miles into Moonshine rd.  We started with a pretty steep 1000 foot climb right out of the gate. I hit that hill pretty good but when I got to the bottom I looked at the map.  Right after the 1000 foot climb was Smart Mountain– a 2400 foot climb over five miles.  It is the first peak of the White Mountain range– the hardest on the trail. It was an exhausting climb that didn’t see me at the top until 3:00.  I tried to text Dancing Bear but got no signal.  It was another three miles down plus up and down 1400 foot mt. Cube and three more miles to moonshine.  Totally impossible.  I climbed the fire tower on top of Smart for some pix and hiked down.

As the sun was setting I hiked half way up Mt Cube to the Hexagonal shelter.  There I ran into another Dartmouth group that had taken most of the tent sites with their tarp and had the shelter nearly full.  It was clear they didn’t want my smelly, hiker-trash ass in the shelter raining on their parade.  I set my mat and bag up near the opening with my head practically hanging out the front.  The kids were either snotty or dismissal of me, understandable given my appearance and smell. 

 They configured themselves around the hexagon with feet in the middle and their heads at the outer wall.  Whilst they were playing truth or dare or what ever they were whispering about, I sat up in my bag suddenly and and loudly blurted: “24 inches from the wall boys and and girls!”  “Excuse me?!”, they inquired with a little bit of surprise at finally hearing from the smelly, crazy, old guy.  I said “the mice run along the walls, if you don’t want them running across your face, you best stay a foot or two from the walls.  They looked at me with that Ivy League v peasant look until one of them pointed out that mice do, in fact, run along the walls.  

I rolled over and snuggled into my bag as they en mas moved to the center of the hexagon and switched so that all of their heads were in the middle in one big gaggle of rich, entitled, and yes, inclusive eighteen year olds.  God help the poor mice.  Happy trails.

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